A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
I could never have too much things. This was my mantra and mindset for a long time. More items meant having more variety to choose from. It represented abundance. It represented freedom of choice. I loved having stuffs! And so, I loved shopping too.
The day came when everything felt too… Stuffy. I could not find the space to think, the freedom to move around freely. I kept having to manoeuvre around items just to get from one side of my room to the next, and my room was not exactly that big. The items that I enjoyed thoroughly slowly became my prison and frustration.
Let me clarify: I did not have that much items to be called a hoarder. Maybe I’m a clutterer, but not so much as a hoarder. There was still space in my room, but it was messy and haphazard. Things were scattered and packed in different corners of the room. When I sat down on my bed and looked around, it was the visual projection of something else – indecision and lack of control. It was a good representation of my life – undecided and having a lack of control and direction.
Many times we tried to mask that by attempting to give our lives meaning through the things we had. The kind of clothes we wore. The bags we carried. The trips and adventures we experienced. The kind of family we had. The career that defined our identity. The gadgets we owned. The life stage we were in. We were told these could bring us joy. Bring us meaning. Bring us life.
But nothing is further from the truth. Things (in a broad and general sense including people) could never provide life or meaning to life. A life devoted to any of these was a dead life, a stump. A stump could not grow into a tree anymore. It served no other purpose, maybe except for a stool. The purposes of its life – to grow into a tall, majestic tree; to provide shade for animals; to participate and contribute to the air supply and purification process; to flower and bear fruits, etc – were now unfulfilled and unachieved. Life literally stopped for that stump.
The Bible shared on how we can have a flourishing life: it is to have a God-shaped life. What does a God-shaped life looks like? What does a God-shaped life do? Luckily, the Bible shares on this. The characteristics of a God-shaped life are:
• A life that obeys the Lord
• Follows after Him
• Is completely devoted to Him above all else.
Nothing can take the place of God in that life. This life loves God and loves people too (only done because of God’s overflowing love for him/her). Such a life is seen by others as a flourishing tree.
Things can never bring us the richness of life. Only a life that is filled with God can.